C’bean footballers get glimpse of what it takes to reach next level

WHEN anyone is engaged in trying to reach the top of any sport, there is always a detailed plan and tracking of progress behind it.

For football it is the same, as the Argentine Football Association hosted an online seminar for the Caribbean Football Union, thanks to the Argentine Ambassador to Barbados, His Excellency Gustavo Martinez Pandiani.

Practice and playing was one the areas but not the only one, as there was a general analysis of the trends in World Football, which included a comparison between the South American and European levels. There was also an inward look at the infrastructure and a detailed training plan, which included what would be done on certain days of the week from start to the final section where they stretch.

The presenters – Jeronimo Aimar, Hermes Desio and Roman Manasser – took the audience through what they have been doing at the junior level of Argentine football over the years, in an effort to help the Caribbean move to the next level in their game. It was a look into what it takes to produce a consistently high quality team.

Everything was noted and statistics were able to be produced from how many people were called up and from which areas, to the amount of training sessions the teams had. It was a scientific approach to their development, which has reaped rewards at the junior and senior levels.

One thing that was stressed was competitive matches. Being able to play other teams and in high quality tournaments was one of the key notes which was pointed out by the presenters.

In recent years the Caribbean has started some junior tournaments, but will need to also play outside the region if they wish to improve.

In 2018 the Argentine Under-16 team played three tournaments, two of which were played in Europe.

The presenters seemed to leave nothing to chance, and noted what characteristics they were looking for in a complete footballer and the concepts they would use in the team so that everyone was on the same pathway.

There was a method to how they were going to produce the type of team they wanted from the foundation up and not just talk about it. There was even a provision for junior players to live at the football venue and be able to have school as travelling in the large nation can take many hours.

For the Caribbean region to consistently produce a top quality team, they will need to adapt to their conditions but also put in the work needed. A comprehensive plan and training system from the junior to the senior level will have to be implemented using the things that work best for their players and not just try to copy others.

Identifying players, tracking progress, health, nutrition, work ethic and attitudes are all key factors which make a top player and need to be done if the sport is to advance.

It is no longer just about the talent, but the way in which it is molded for the journey that has to be taken that will determine who comes out on top.

It is time for the Caribbean to be more consistent and take the next step by putting the science into the development of the players, so that one of the countries can make the World Cup each time it comes around.

Barbados Advocate

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